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De La Soul.

Catalyst for Change?

By now, pretty much everyone knows that longtime Catalyst owner Randall Kane is selling the legendary club to the owners of the swank San Jose dance club SPY, but the question still remains: What are they going to do with it?

Longtime Catalyst booking agent Gary Tighe says that while the new owners plan on trying new things, he thinks that the Catalyst will still focus on lots of live music.

"Randall, he's not that into trying new stuff, you know?" says Tighe, pointing to the well-worn formula of booking two or three big bands a week in the back, and sticking everyone else in the Atrium.

Addressing concerns that the Catalyst will switch from a primarily live music venue to a DJ venue, Tighe says, "A lot of people are concerned because in San Jose they're doing primarily DJ stuff over there, but they ain't gonna do that. We've already got tons of live stuff booked for October."

"I'd like to get local bands going on again with some kind of a 'night,'" says Tighe. "I'd like at least two local nights, one in the Atrium, one in the back. Local bands, when they have a place to play, they work at it. They get better because they have a reason to. And where else are they gonna play? The Med is the only place that's doing anything--and the Aptos Club to some extent, but I think there's plenty of room for us to do something, too. You develop bands and the town is happenin' again. Bands wanna play!"

Tighe says that none of the new program changes will go into effect until January, anticipating the seasonal drought of concert-goers around the holidays.

"It's going to be more exciting, I think--there are lots of ideas floating around, tons of ideas I've had over the years. There are at least four or five ideas we could try, consistent things like a dollar night and multiple local nights in the Atrium."

"Things will probably get better," continues Tighe. "I know the guys coming in, and they like the idea of trying different things. They'd like to run seven nights a week. Their club over in San Jose has a nice shiny clean dance floor and the place is well kept, the bathrooms are all really spiffy. I know they recognize that the food service could use some attention, the bathrooms could use some attention, and they're just basically going to continue as is, keep the same staff, and then come in after a few months and re-evaluate it as to which things they want to change, if anything. But I think anything they change will just be kind of improving what's going on. They still want to do a lot of live music."

Ah, music to the ears! Now, the waiting begins ...

De La Toots

Speaking of live music, the De La Soul and Toots and the Maytals shows both proved to be prime specimens of the art form. It just goes to show that there's no substituting for experience, and Toots got plenty of that--motherfucker's been performing for over 35 years and he still rocks the house. He still plays all the old hits--busting out with "Funky Kingston," "54 46 (That's My Number)" and "Monkey Man" like he just wrote 'em yesterday. He played with the arrangements a lot to keep things fresh, working in a bunch of climactic endings to his most popular songs. What a guy!

And then there was De La Soul, who were so freaking funky fresh I felt like doing the robot all night long, but I think that was just nostalgia taking over. They kept themselves thoroughly entertained by starting hype wars between the left and right sides of the audience, trying to figure out where the pawty was at. They stayed light on the love songs and heavy on the danceable hits like "Me, Myself and I," "Stakes Is High" and the Chaka Khan-ified "All Good." And then it was the ladies' turn to crowd the stage while Posdnuos and PA Mase rapped about girls with ugly feet. The trio got a taste of the SC flow when one of the dancers started doing yoga onstage, breathing in the energy of the crowd, like--De La Who? You mean this isn't the Burning Man Playa? Oh well--Namaste, De La Soul!

Mike Connor

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From the September 3-10, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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